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News Summary: Obama nominates Perez as Labor chief

The Associated Press

FILE - In this Thursday, May 10, 2012 file photo, United States Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, left, is joined by Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Roy Austin, as Perez announces a federal civil lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio during a news conference in Phoenix. The White House says President Barack Obama on Monday, March 18, 2012 will nominate Perez to head the Labor Department. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

LABOR CHIEF: President Barack Obama nominated Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to be the secretary of labor, choosing a Hispanic lawyer with experience in civil rights and workplace issues. He would replace Hilda Solis, a former California congresswoman and the nation's first Hispanic labor secretary.

THE TASK: If confirmed by the Senate, Perez would take over the Labor Department as Obama undertakes several worker-oriented initiatives, including an overhaul of immigration laws and an increase in the minimum wage.

CRITICS: Some GOP lawmakers say the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has been too politicized. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., called the nomination "unfortunate and needlessly divisive."